From “Rocket man” to “I’m still standing”, Elton John plays his big hits on full farewell tour

Elton John to a concert in Paris, at the Paris Défense Arena, June 11, 2022 – Emmanuel Dunand – AFP

During the jubilation he sings Rocket man for his ultimate launch: After more than half a century on the move, Elton John, in good shape for his 75th birthday, is on a full farewell world tour, passing through Paris on Saturday.

Rocket man, a classic, appears half an hour inside the show and is one of the first fireworks. The three giant screens project a starry galaxy, while Sir Elton extends the piece in a boogie style on the piano.

Applause from the 32,000 people (who were to sit but stand in front of their seats) in the Paris Défense Arena. The British megastar then rises from his piano to step forward on stage and greet his audience.


A great way to quell the ugly rumors about his health condition and show that his hip surgery in the fall of 2021 is just a bad memory.

The tabloids were made alarming by photographing him on June 1 at the German airport in Leipzig in a wheelchair. Photos posted just before his appearance – pre-recorded on video – for Queen Elizabeth II’s anniversary.

“The truth is that I’m in excellent health, that I love my shows, and that I play and sing at my best level,” he had immediately posted on Instagram. He gave a living proof of that in Paris, even though he seemed a little tired after 2.30’s concert.

Of Bennie & the Jets, introductory piece, the voice is in place and the right hand (the one on the side of the big diamond in the ear) does the job on the keyboard for the variations. In Paris, the singer appears in a coat embroidered with sparkles. The sneakers are the same red as the lenses on his glasses, surrounded by small diamonds.

kitsch dressing gown

In the middle of the show, while his six musicians – dressed as “Blues Brothers” – provide a musical interlude, he returns disguised, wearing a red and black Harlequin jacket. For the extra number, he ends up in a kitsch dressing gown.

The visual tables are neat. The piece That’s probably why they call it Blues accompanied on the screens by a slide show by renowned British photographer Martin Parr, with couples no longer on wavelength.

Have mercy on the criminal (“Have mercy on the criminal”) is served by an animated film about a convict who tries to escape. The rhythm section, which consists of a drummer and two percussionists, is having fun. To find out what shots were fired at the refugee, they hammer a large “bang” and cut the piece off, which surprises the audience.

This interaction between the animated film and the musicians’ play on stage is reminiscent of the scenography of Gorillaz, a group of Damon Albarn, with whom Elton John has also recently collaborated.

“I love France”

This device shows that Elton John is always listening. The partings for the stage are not the ones for the music. For publication by The lockdown sessionsend of 2021, the author of Your song confided in video conference to the press: “To say I would have bypassed the issue would be the end of everything. I’m more excited about music than ever”.

To delight his audience (faithfully, 300 million albums sold in his career), his farewell tour is a best-of. I’m still standing is thus illustrated with a collection of videos marking its path.

The original clip of I’m still standing (1983) was filmed in Cannes. Elton John fell in love with France in general and the Côte d’Azur in particular (he has a house in Nice), during this period. “I love France,” he also dropped at the end of the show.

He returns to Paris in June 2023: his XXL farewell tour takes him across Europe, New Zealand, the US, Canada and the UK. The opportunity for another year to hear him sing on stage “Time to dance!” (“It’s time to dance”!) And perform like Paris did.

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